TAMPA, Fla. — Jon Gruden has filed suit against the National Football League and Roger Goodell, according to reports from several media outlets.
Gruden resigned as coach of the Raiders in October after emails he sent before being hired by Las Vegas in 2018 contained racist, homophobic and misogynistic comments.
At the time, the former coach, who also has a history with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, released a statement saying: “I have resigned as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. I love the Raiders and do not want to be a distraction. Thank you to all the players, coaches, staff, and fans of Raider Nation. I’m sorry, I never meant to hurt anyone.”
Now, his attorney, Adam Hosmer-Henner, claims the emails were released "in order to harm Gruden's reputation and force him out of his job." The reason Gruden's emails were made public out of a batch of 650,000 emails is also called into question by the lawsuit.
You can read the full statement released to ESPN below:
"Jon Gruden filed suit against the National Football League and Commissioner Goodell in the Eighth Judicial District Court in Clark County, Nevada. The complaint alleges that the defendants selectively leaked Gruden's private correspondence to the Wall Street Journal and New York Times in order to harm Gruden's reputation and force him out of his job. There is no explanation or justification for why Gruden's emails were the only ones made public out of the 650,000 emails collected in the NFL's investigation of the Washington Football Team or for why the emails were held for months before being released in the middle of the raider's season."
The emails being uncovered was a rapid downfall for Gruden, who was in the fourth year of a 10-year, $100 million contract he signed with the Raiders in 2018.
Citing decades-old emails, The New York Times reported that Gruden frequently used misogynistic and homophobic language directed at Goodell and others in the NFL.
The Times reported that Gruden used a gay slur to insult Goodell and said he was “clueless” and “anti-football.” He also said Goodell shouldn’t have pressured the Rams to draft “queers,” a reference to Michael Sam, who was the first openly gay player drafted by an NFL team.
That report came on the heels of a Wall Street Journal report, which accused Gruden of using a racist term to describe NFL union chief DeMaurice Smith in a 2011 email to Bruce Allen, the former president of the Washington Football Team and former general manager of the Bucs.
Gruden apologized for his “insensitive remarks” about Smith, saying they were made out of frustration over the 2011 lockout. But the latest emails sent from between 2011-18 when Gruden was an analyst for ESPN show his use of derogatory language went well beyond that.
The long-time coach was also reported to have criticized the league for trying to reduce concussions and took issue with players who demonstrated during the national anthem.
Gruden was also removed from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers prestigious Ring of Honor following the discovery.
“The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have advocated for purposeful change in the areas of race relations, gender equality, diversity and inclusion for many years. While we acknowledge Jon Gruden’s contributions on the field, his actions go against our core values as an organization," the Bucs wrote. "Therefore, he will no longer continue to be a member of the Buccaneers Ring of Honor.”